Outdoors

Review: GEIGERRIG pressurized hydration pack

Review: GEIGERRIG pressurized ...
Gizmag takes a hands-on look at the GEIGERRIG pressurized hydration pack
Gizmag takes a hands-on look at the GEIGERRIG pressurized hydration pack
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The GEIGERRIG RIG 500 pressurized hydration pack
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The GEIGERRIG RIG 500 pressurized hydration pack
A demonstration of how the GEIGERRIG could be used to spray down your hot-and-sweaty face
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A demonstration of how the GEIGERRIG could be used to spray down your hot-and-sweaty face
The GEIGERRIG bladder, with its attached air and water hoses
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The GEIGERRIG bladder, with its attached air and water hoses
The GEIGERRIG bladder sits in a separate nylon pouch within the pack, leaving room for gear such as a bike pump and extra tube (in the mesh pocket)
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The GEIGERRIG bladder sits in a separate nylon pouch within the pack, leaving room for gear such as a bike pump and extra tube (in the mesh pocket)
The GEIGERRIG's air pressure is controlled using a rubber hand bulb
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The GEIGERRIG's air pressure is controlled using a rubber hand bulb
The GEIGERRIG bladder fills up easily, thanks to a wide-mouthed slide-top opening
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The GEIGERRIG bladder fills up easily, thanks to a wide-mouthed slide-top opening
The GEIGERRIG inline filter
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The GEIGERRIG inline filter
Gizmag takes a hands-on look at the GEIGERRIG pressurized hydration pack
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Gizmag takes a hands-on look at the GEIGERRIG pressurized hydration pack
The GEIGERRIG RIG 500 pressurized hydration pack
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The GEIGERRIG RIG 500 pressurized hydration pack
The pressurized hydration pack with inline filter attached
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The pressurized hydration pack with inline filter attached
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First of all, let's get one thing clear - conventional hydration packs aren't a problem that needs solving. You want a drink, you suck on the mouthpiece, it's as simple as that. Then again, standard-definition video, dial-up internet connections and friction-operated bicycle shift levers were all considered "good enough" at one time, too. It's hard to say if GEIGERRIG's pressurized hydration pack system will eventually join the ranks of HDTV, cable internet and indexed shifting, but based on my experiences with one of the company's test rigs, it could at least gain some converts.

The system is very simple and low-tech, which is good.

Instead of consisting of one water-only compartment, the GEIGERRIG's polyurethane bladder has an internal partition running from its top to bottom, splitting it vertically into two sealed compartments - one in the front, and the other in the back. Water goes in one compartment, which incorporates the usual attached hose and bite valve. Air is pumped into the other using a second hose attached to a rubber hand bulb. That bulb is mounted on one of the shoulder straps, where the user can reach it when wearing the pack.

The more air that is pumped into the one compartment, the more pressure it exerts on the adjoining water compartment. When the bite valve (mounted on the other shoulder strap) is pinched between the user's fingers, the air pressure causes the water to come shooting out.

The GEIGERRIG bladder, with its attached air and water hoses
The GEIGERRIG bladder, with its attached air and water hoses

So, what's the point?

For one thing, multiple people can drink from one pack, without having to swap germs. Users can also spray their sweaty faces and dirty hands, clean their gear, or hose off the various wounds that hydration pack-wearing types inevitably incur while partaking in their chosen activities. Last but not least, it's simply easier to squirt water into your mouth than it is to suck it through a long tube.

For the purpose of this review, the folks at GEIGERRIG sent me one of their ballistic nylon RIG 500 packs. Ideally, I would have liked to try it out while mountain biking, as that's what my existing CamelBak is pretty much exclusively used for. Given that the trails in my part of the world are currently covered in ice and slush, however, I decided that a simple run in the woods would have to suffice.

To test the RIG 500's stuff-carrying capabilities, I transferred all the bigger mountain biking items (pump, spare tube, tools, etc.) from my CamelBak into it. There was plenty of room, and the rig's internal mesh pockets helped to keep things organized. Next, I filled up the water compartment of the bladder. This was nice and easy, as it incorporates a wide-mouthed slide-top opening.

The GEIGERRIG bladder fills up easily, thanks to a wide-mouthed slide-top opening
The GEIGERRIG bladder fills up easily, thanks to a wide-mouthed slide-top opening

After hooking up the two quick-release hoses and sliding the bladder into its nylon pouch within the pack, I then pumped it up the recommended 15 to 20 squeezes. If you're wearing the pack while doing so, you can definitely feel it start to press against your back as the air pressure builds, but not uncomfortably so - a thick plastic plate in the pack helps distribute the pressure more evenly, and the outside back of the pack is well-padded.

The bladder also presses itself around the cargo items in the pack, as it expands with air. Should you subsequently wish to access one of those things, particularly if it's stored toward the bottom of the pack, you might have to use the release valve on the bulb to let the air out. Keep in mind, re-inflating only takes a few seconds.

The GEIGERRIG RIG 500 pressurized hydration pack
The GEIGERRIG RIG 500 pressurized hydration pack

Once I cinched up the chest and waist straps, I was ready to go.

Upon pinching the bite valve, a stream of water did indeed spray out. It certainly was nice to be able to quickly just shoot water into my mouth as I ran, although I did periodically have to give the hand bulb a few squeezes to keep the pressure up as the water level dropped. For people who don't want one more thing to think about, this might be a hassle.

GEIGERRIG promotes the fact that its system eliminates the sloshing-water effect common to traditional hydration packs, as the water has no empty space to slosh into. This is true, although I did notice that the bladder as a whole had a tendency to shake up and down within the pack as I ran. Stuffing a T-shirt or some other soft filler in above it would likely minimize that problem.

Upon completion of my outing, another useful feature of the system presented itself - not only can the bladder be turned inside out for easy drying, but it's also dishwasher-safe. CamelBak users who have tried rigging up systems for drying and/or cleaning their reservoirs will definitely appreciate this.

The GEIGERRIG inline filter
The GEIGERRIG inline filter

I also tested one of GEIGERRIG's inline water filters. This optional extra quickly installs between the bladder and the water hose, and uses activated coconut shell carbon to remove a reported 99.9 percent of cryptosporidium and giardia bacteria from lake or river water. It's good for processing up to 50 US gallons (189 liters), and is definitely a nice range-extending feature for those times where one fill of the bladder isn't enough.

My RIG 500 has a 2-liter (70 oz.) bladder, 500 cubic inches (8 liters) of dry storage space, and retails for US$125. GEIGERRIG's other packs range in price from $115 for another 2-liter offering, up to $145 for the 3-liter (100 oz.)/1,600 cubic inch (26-liter) RIG 1600. By way of comparison, the 3-liter CamelBak Alpine Explorer 30 sells for approximately $115.

So, is it worth the extra dough? Well, there is more to fuss over with the GEIGERRIG, but if the advantages of sharing, showering or shooting water into your mouth on the trail appeal, it might be the pack for you.

More details on the system are available in the mock infomercial below.

Source: GEIGERRIG

GEIGERRIG Hydration Packs - Pressurized Hydration Packs

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15 comments
Gadgeteer
Not a new concept. The Bikestream bicycle-mounted pressurized system was trademarked and sold in 1989, followed by the Aquastream from the same company, now defunct.
ComedyBill
Nice idea but it's an expensive way to solve the problem when you can already improve flow for free:
For a hydration sack in a big rucksack ===================== 1. Make sure the sack is full and at the top of the rucksack. The higher it is the easier the water flows. 2. If there are other (non-sharp) items about the sack, it will squeeze it and give you a bit of pressure.
For either a rucksack OR a single purpose item like above ==================================== 1.When you find you have lost a bit of pressure and have to suck, just blow a couple of breathes in to the bag. Once the air has pushed the water in the tube back it inflates part of the sack. This gives it pressure and there's no more sucking.
Cost: Free Ease: Very easy Problems: None - been doing it for years and never had problems.
Dawar Saify
Also better to have a spring based pressurising system. This system on top in one container, the lower enclosed container with the water. Or, have the pumping system just outside in reach to pump while trekking when the pressure is low.
grtbluyonder
A solution in search of a need and market. On the trail, KISS applies if you want to survive or just reliably have a drink of water.
Letmehike
WOW look at all of the boobirds. I have a Rig 1600 and I love it! I had a couple Camelbaks that I thought I was in love with till the bladders grew mold in them. I went through three bladders before giving GEIGERRIG a try. @ComedyBill Blowing into the tube does create pressure but who are you going to share with after you mix your saliva with the water? I think that this is why my drink tube and bladder always gets moldy.... I blew into my friends tube to show her how to pressurize the bladder and she dumped the water out. \"that\'s gross\" I bought my pack at REI and they were comparable in price to the Camelbaks there.

ComedyBill
@Letmehike - If they are really comparable in cost that\'s great. But I can see replacing gas as being a bit of a pain (just another thing to do).
Only a tiny bit of water will come in to contact with your [highly toxic] air and surely on a standard sack OR this super-duper one - the water still comes through the hole you suck!?
As for mould prevention, here\'s a few ideas:
1. Regularly clean your sack and hose with sterilising tablets (e.g. Milton) 2. Keep water in the system with NO AIR (got one at home that\'s been lying for months and no mould) 3. Drain it all and store it in the freezer
Letmehike
@Comedy bill or you could just save yourself the pain and expense of buying a cleaning kit and just turn the bladder inside out and throw it in the dishwasher. simple facts: I have owned both and I like the GEIGERRIG better because in-line filtration, reversible bladder that I can throw in the DISHWASHER and the pressurization. If you have not even owned a GEIGERRIG then why would you be arguing these points? Go buy one and try it before knocking it. BTW, I registered the mountain passport that came with the pack and went to Angel Fire, Brundage, Alpine Meadows and Brenton Woods ski resorts for FREE. What other pack gives you that option?
ComedyBill
@Letmehike - you\'re right, I don\'t own one of these and therfore maybe can\'t see what i\'m missing... But while I have several standard bladders and cleaning tools, I might as well use them till they\'re broken!
As for the mountian pass - I\'d need a rather expensive plane ticket first anyway...
MickB
I have a Rig 1600 and have been very pleased with it. The quality is very good and it does what it is supposed to do. The spray function comes in very handy, especially when riding in the desert in 40C heat and you want to cool down a bit :) Also, I.M.H.O. how a manufacturer stands behind their product is just as important as the product itself. In this regard GEIGERRIG was exceptional to me.
Juston Preble
I always wondered why CamelBak was so popular. I hate cleaning mine. A dishwasher friendly pack makes a lot of sense. I\'ll be stopping by REI soon to get my fountain pack...